Maianthemum bifolium
Common Name: false lily of the valley
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Western Europe to Japan
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers rich, loose, humusy, consistently moist soils in summers with moderate temperatures. Intolerant of the hot and humid summers of the deep South. Intolerant of dry soils. Propagate by division in early autumn or by seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Maianthemum bifolium, commonly known as false lily of the valley or false Solomon's seal, is native to forests, thickets, stream banks and moist hillsides from Europe to Siberia, China and Japan. It is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 6-8" tall and slowly spreads to 20" wide by thick rhizomes, often forming large colonies in the wild. Each stem features two cordate-ovate leaves (to 3" long). Small fluffy star-like flowers bloom in May-June on upright racemes (each containing 15-20 flowers) to 2" tall. Flowers are followed by tiny red berries which mature in August-September. M. bifolium has similar foliage to that of the true Solomon's seals (Polygonatum spp.), except the flowers and fruit of these plants are quite different: M. bifolium has tiny flowers in upright inflorescences followed by red fruit whereas the Polygonatums have single bell-shaped flowers hanging from the leaf axils followed by blue-black fruit. M. bifolium is synonymous with and formerly known as Smilacina bifolia and Convallaria bifolia.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best naturalized as a ground cover in woodland gardens. Pond or stream peripheries. Moist woodland areas. Effective with hostas and ferns.